On September 14, 2022, Magali Frauendorf will defend her thesis ‘Causes of spatiotemporal variation in reproductive performance of Eurasian oystercatchers in a human-dominated landscape’ at Radboud University. In December 2016 she started her PhD in the project CHIRP (Cumulative Human Impact on biRd Populations) at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology in collaboration with Radboud University and Sovon Vogelonderzoek Nederland.

Understanding how anthropogenic impacts affect population dynamics at a large spatial scale is crucial to be able to explain why species are threatened. I aimed to get better insight in the factors driving the population dynamics of the Eurasian oystercatcher in the Netherlands by focusing on reproduction parameters.

The overall average reproductive success is too low to keep the population stable and we should focus on increasing hatchling survival (compared to clutch survival) to increase the overall reproductive output. Predator abundance plays an important role in explaining variation in reproductive output and habitat with less food results in higher vulnerability to predation. In areas with more mammalian predators and high breeding density, clutch survival is lower than in areas with more avian predators. A higher proportion of grassland at the wintering ground increases the winter body condition, in turn, resulting in higher chick survival in the subsequent season.

Reducing land use intensity, increasing abundance of alternative prey species for predators, preserving grasslands close to the coast, considering predator community before deciding where to construct new attractive meadow bird reserves may be suitable management implications to increase reproductive output of oystercatchers across the Netherlands.”

Science agenda Radboud University